Originally Published: October 5, 2017 6 a.m.
The third time is not the charm — at least when it comes to selling off the Prescott Unified School District’s administration offices on South Granite Street.
Superintendent Joe Howard said this week that a prospective deal with a local buyer, the third offer the Governing Board initially accepted, is a no-go. Part of the reluctance for the buyer, operating under the business moniker Zeezee LLC, seems to be connected to a lease-back agreement to the district if the closing occurred prior to their move to renovated space at the Washington Traditional School, he said.
Twice before, the administration and Governing Board thought they had a deal for the sale — the final of three school properties the district put up for sale a year ago based on taxpayer wishes — but complexities with potential development and some issues with the aging structure impeded those offers. The two prior offers were from Ironline Partners in Phoenix and SteepleRock Ventures in Paradise Valley.
As of a week ago, the district has generated $4.8 million with the sale of the other two properties to Ironline Partners — the former Dexter Elementary school that is now leased by Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy and the former Miller Valley Elementary School on the corner of Miller Valley and Iron Springs roads.
The district’s real estate brokers, Commercial Properties Northern Arizona, continue to market the property that is on the corner of Granite and Goodwin streets just a block from Whiskey Row and the courthouse plaza adjacent to Granite Creek.
School leaders and the real estate brokers have had high hopes since the properties were marketed for sale that the commercially-zoned, downtown location would be deemed an ideal spot for the right buyer. Broker Donald Teel said there is nothing about the property that is a particular dilemma, and he continues to field offers.
Howard is convinced the right buyer will be found, but maybe not as quickly as they had hoped.
After the board meeting Tuesday night, Howard said a $386,000 renovation project at the Washington Traditional School to convert some of that space into district offices is underway with expectation that the work would be complete by the first of the year.
He said it might be that once the district offices have relocated to their new home, the current office space will sell more quickly because there will no longer be the complexities involved with the district leasing back the space.
He said he is still believes the property built in the late 1930s will catch someone’s eye. He just can’t quite predict when.
“I’m patient,” Howard said.
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